As game developers, we should be held accountable for creating great games that are inclusive to all, championing the player experience and building positive player communities. With almost 20 years in game development, creating a space where everyone on the planet can experience the joys of gaming remains paramount for me.
My current work on Forza Motorsport continues to teach me invaluable lessons about great and inclusive game design. I will always champion the culture of gaming for all so that it is directly a part of the game development process. First and foremost is ensuring that game designs are adaptable and support diverse play styles for our equally diverse players. Another valuable lesson is the importance of creating boundaries to support safer communities as part of building game experiences. I bring this knowledge with me as I continue to work on games for Xbox and push player experiences to new levels.
I want to inspire our next generation of innovators and creators and hope to make a difference through intentional inclusion, support, and mentorship, especially for women just starting on their journey. As the Women in Gaming at Xbox co-lead, together with Ivory Harvey, we remain committed to fostering connections among the women in gaming community, to support each other and raise awareness.
In celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I join Team Xbox as we focus on celebrating the amazing women in gaming and creating a space for them to shine. As Head of Xbox Phil Spencer says, “in the games industry, we have seen tremendous contributions when women are empowered in key roles of leadership, development, design, and across the entire creative team. We need to focus on bringing more women into gaming careers, at every stage and in every discipline.”
Xbox will continue to champion content that represents the diversity of today’s gamers and will continue to empower and support women throughout the industry. Here are some of the ways in which Xbox plans to celebrate women in gaming on International Women’s Day and during Women’s History Month:
Xbox Programming to Celebrate Women’s History Month
We will be dedicating our livestreaming content all month long in celebration of Women’s History Month by featuring women in various categories – protagonists in games, developers, content creators and streamers! Follow along on Twitch so you don’t miss any of the action!
Gears 5 Women’s History Month Tournament
We will also be throwing a Gears 5 online tournament featuring all women gamers that will be broadcasted on Twitch.tv/Xbox on Saturday, March 13 at 10:30am PT. This will be a collaboration between Xbox, The Coalition and Smash.gg. See official rules.
Minecraft: Women’s Equality Lessons on Education and the Right to Vote
Minecraft: Education Edition has released two new lessons on International Women’s Day, exploring the work of Malala Yousafzai advocating for girls’ education and Emmeline Pankhurst in the quest for women’s right to vote in Victorian Britain. Look for these lessons on education.minecraft.net or in the Minecraft Marketplace.
World’s Edge – Age of Empires: Queen’s Clash Tournament and Women of History Celebration
Queen’s Clash Tournament: Get ready to draw sword and shield March 13 and 14 for the first Queen’s Clash, an Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition tournament celebrating International Women’s Day. Queen’s Clash is run by Age of Queens, a women-led group from the Age community and sponsored by World’s Edge. Prepare your battle cry and support our sisters in arms! (https://www.twitch.tv/tinytriss)
Women of History Celebration: Age of Empires celebrates stories from all over the world. Throughout March, influential women throughout history will have their tales told on ageofempires.com and across the Age of Empires social channels! (https://www.ageofempires.com/news)
Gaming and Impact with Microsoft Rewards: Girls Who Code, Black Girls Rock
Microsoft Rewards Members can earn and donate points to organizations supporting women in gaming through Xbox. All Microsoft Rewards donations made to the organizations listed below will be matched by Microsoft through the month of March.
- Girls Who Code is an organization that values diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential to their mission. They aim to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to become change agents in their communities.
- Black Girls Rock is a non-profit committed to mentoring, enriching, and educating the next generation of young women leaders by giving girls the tools needed to develop leadership skills, improve academic achievements, refine critical thinking, promote social awareness, and increase civic engagement.
Xbox gamers can earn Microsoft Rewards points in various ways, such as playing or purchasing games after downloading the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox. Earn points and redeem them for real rewards. Join today and donate through Xbox.
Discover Games, Movies and TV Curated by Women at Microsoft
This March and beyond, we are highlighting games, movies, and TV shows selected by women at Microsoft that bring focus to content created by women, leading women, affirming experiences, and more.
Check out a few highlights from the full games collection featuring creators, protagonists, playable characters and character creation options:
Control – Jesse Faden is the new director of the Federal Bureau of Control who wields telekinetic powers and is praised for her competence, thoughtfulness, and might.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider – Billie Lurk is a Black woman embodying standout depth and intersectionality who lost her eye and arm.
Never Alone – Nuna is young Iñupiat girl at the center of this puzzle-platformer adventure, and created to be a strong, resourceful, smart, and brave role model for girls.
Beyond Eyes – This unique game is developed by Sherida Halatoe and follows the journey of Rae, a ten-year old girl who is blind and her journey to find her lost cat.
Explore movies and TV shows with similar themes here.
View the complete collections on the Microsoft Store on Xbox, the Microsoft Store on Windows, and the Xbox App on Windows. After March 31, visitors to both the Xbox and Windows Stores can find community picks from women at Microsoft by searching for “Women’s History Month” and related terms.
Women of Xbox UK: Video and Visual Podcast, March – June 2021
In honor of International Women’s Day, the next Women of Xbox UK video will be published today, featuring Louise O’Connor from Rare in conversation with Mary McGuane (Chief of Staff, Xbox Game Studios), Nina Kristensen (Ninja Theory’s Chief Development Director) and Rose Buahin (Senior Category Manager for Games in the UK Marketing team). During the discussion, these remarkable leaders will be sharing their thoughts on the challenges they have faced and how their experiences have empowered their success.
In addition, today we are announcing a new Women of Xbox UK podcast series. The podcast will showcase women from Xbox Game Studios and other teams discussing their experiences, sharing advice and encouraging the aspirations of listeners. Each episode will focus on where these women began their journey, where they are today and what they see for the future. The first episode will be available toward the end of March. View the podcast here.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection – Women’s History Month Nameplate “Spartan Kat”
In Halo: The Master Chief Collection, our players can customize their profile with special nameplates commemorating in-game activities or celebrating special events. Any players who log in during the month of March will automatically gain access to this unique Women’s History Month nameplate featuring Spartan Kat!
Xbox Ambassadors Share Their Stories
Highlighting and amplifying community voices is central to the Xbox Ambassadors mission. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we asked members who identify as women to share how games with diverse representation have impacted them and to share their own stories about being a member of a gaming community. Here are their stories.
Xbox Community Game Club
The Xbox Community Game Club is a weekly way to play, share, and discuss games together as a community. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are featuring games with women in strong lead or supporting roles. Check in weekly to discover your next favorite game and use #XboxGameClub to tell us about some of your favorite women in video games and how they have had an impact on you.
In recognition of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we look forward to celebrating women in gaming and highlighting the women in leadership at Xbox. As we honor their achievements, we hope to inspire the next generation of innovators and leaders in the gaming industry. We will also continue to advocate for a safe and inclusive space where everyone can experience the joys of gaming.
PLAY. CONNECT. IMPACT
Learn more about all that Xbox and Microsoft are doing to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month at the Xbox Community Hub and Microsoft | Women’s History Month.
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